If an ancient wealthy Roman from the height of the Roman Empire were transported to modern America, what "modern" advances do you think would not surprise him? What would surprise him?
I think an ancient Roman might be surprised at how many things seem, on the surface, unchanged in 2000 years. We have learned to construct things faster and cheaper, but not better. Ancient Roman concrete has lasted 2000 years; modern concrete has a tenth of that expected lifespan.
A fair number of "modern" conveniences existed back then, but were only available to the very rich, and were very labor-intensive. For example, running hot and cold water would not surprise him, but that it is ubitquitous would. That the modern world exists completely without slave labor would probably surprise him.
He would also possibly be surprised how so much of modern architechture is evocative of ancient roman styles, and how so many words are based in latin, and how many legal concepts have come to us virtually unchanged since the days of Rome.
Our hypothetical ancient Roman would probably be a good deal less surprised at the modern world than a european of the 12th century would be.
Yes, I spent much of last week's TV watching time watching the History Channel and all the documentaries about ancient Rome.